Jan 31, 2011

What could go wrong with an Internet kill switch?

The Obama administration is considering an Internet kill switch.

Under the guise of protecting us from cyber crime terrorism, Democrat Senator Jay Rockefeller sponsored a bill to give the president the right to “order the disconnection” of “critical infrastructure information systems or networks.”

That went nowhere, but now there’s Senate bill 3480, the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010. As its sponsor, Senator Joe Lieberman, told CNN, the bill will allow for the president to order Internet service providers to “disconnect the American Internet from all traffic coming in from another foreign country.”

But isn't this just another attempt, as Jay Rockefeller tried in 2009, at a government control grab. Take away computer interaction and you have much more control over the country.

It's not as simple as a 'kill switch' however.

The title of this report is,
What could go wrong with an Internet kill switch?

The answer is - plenty.

Turning off the Internet could shut down financial networks, and it wouldn't be easy to turn them back on.

Constructing such a switch would be extremely difficult. Borders are porous. Data packets originating in, say, Iran or China can enter the U.S. in many different ways—via satellite or submarine cable or packet radio, or routed through other countries. And packets can be “spoofed,” or assigned a forged IP address, which means there’s no foolproof method to be sure which packets are from home and which from abroad.

More here.